Advantages and disadvantages of investment casting
Investment casting is a highly popular casting method, and for good reason. It has many advantages over other methods and provides highly detailed parts loyal to their molds; however, there are some notable disadvantages that must be discussed.
Below are the main advantages of the investment casting process
Allows for the casting of highly complex, extremely accurate parts with good surface finish right out of the mold
Can cast very thin (~0.015 in) sections with incredibly low tolerances (~0.003 in)
Allows for the use of almost any metal capable of casting (aluminum, bronze, iron, etc.)
The investment casting process can be automated, generating a huge amount of parts quickly
The wax can be recovered and reused for many patterns
These upsides come at a significant price, so let examine the disadvantages of investment casting:
Parts are best behaved in smaller sizes weighing up to around 75 lbs, with large parts being generally better suited to other casting processes
The process is complex and typically involves expensive equipment and/or technicians to operate
The high cost of dies to make the wax patterns limits the processes to high volume production projects
Parts with cores or holes smaller than 1.6 mm or holes deeper than 1.5 times the diameter of the part are difficult to investment cast
So, while highly accurate and readily reproducible, investment casting has a high cost and complex workings. Also, there are some part geometries that cannot be made with this type of casting, so check the properties of your part to see if it is compatible.
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